U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council have joined the American Farm Bureau Federation in a lawsuit challenging an Environmental Protection Agency program that will set limits on discharges to each of the individual watersheds within the Chesapeake Bay region on the East Coast of the U.S.

“The poultry industry is extremely concerned with the potential ramifications that could come from the Chesapeake Bay total maximum daily load recently implemented by the EPA,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY, and Mike Brown, president of the NCC. “The poultry industry has a large presence in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It provides thousands of jobs and contributes well over $1 billion each year to the region’s economy. The viability of the industry in the watershed is essential if we hope to continue providing a safe, sustainable, wholesome, economical source of protein to the United States and the world.”

According to Starkey and Brown, the poultry industry has already made significant efforts to clean up the bay, but the EPA is looking for further reductions from agriculture. “The EPA has announced this program will be a model that will be implemented on a nationwide level,” said Brown. “If so, the assumptions and data that went into developing this model deserves the highest level of scrutiny."